New lease on life for Clarksville post office

Postal Service to reevaluate closure decision, sheriff weighs in

— The proposed closure of the Clarksville Post Office is being re-evaluated after a recent decision by the Postal Regulatory Commission found the Postal Service did not adequately consider the concerns of local residents.

The Postal Service informed residents of the proposal to close the post office last May, and the official decision to close the Clarksville office was made in August. Soon after, local lawyer Peter Henner filed an appeal on behalf of himself and others within the community. The closure was called “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion,” in the petition.

Henner argued the Postal Service failed to meet its obligations to consider the closing of the post office on the Clarksville community, and it’s only basis for the closure was the location’s failure to be self sustaining. The USPS cannot close a facility on that reason alone.

While the closure was still being discussed, USPS spokeswomen Maureen Marion told The Spotlight the Clarksville office sees very little business.

“The retail window in Clarksville averaged 31 transactions a day, which averaged to be about 31 minutes of work,” Marion said. “When you have an office that is staffed for eight hours a day, 31 minutes is a really difficult thing to balance as appropriate.”

The Postal Service said its reasons for closing the branch included the postmaster’s retirement in March, a variety of other retail and delivery options in the area, “very little projected growth in the area” and minimal impact on the Town of New Scotland.

Henner counters there are numerous commercial and residential properties in the town that would be affected.

Members of the community wrote numerous letters in favor of keeping the post office, including Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, who is in the midst of negotiations with the Bethlehem Central School District to lease the closed Clarksville Elementary School.

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